Response to West Berks Council 'Environment Strategy'

Following cross-party action involving the Lib Dems on West Berks Council, a climate emergency was declared in July 2019, with the Tory-controlled administration finally publishing their 'Environment Strategy' in January 2020. You will find the Council's strategy document here, and the WBC Lib Dem response below, as well as the separate responses from the Lib Dem-controlled Newbury and Thatcham Town Councils.

Introduction to WBC Lib Dem group response

Our proposals are aimed at tackling the biggest issue, but also the ones we can do something about quickest. We are also urging West Berks Council to do things in parallel, rather than the current approach which appears sequential.

Our feedback covers energy, transport, offsetting, waste, building (planning), speed of delivery and finance.

Summary of WBC Lib Dem group response

A summary of our response is below:-

  • Urge the Executive to work with all parties to define a clearer vision and allow us all to achieve the needed goals
  • Reworking of the whole strategy to embed the philosophy of
    • use less
    • increase efficiency
    • find carbon-friendly alternatives
    • offset what's left
  • Working cross-party and with the public to ensure improvements in the key target areas and have provide details on how to ensure the correct energy requirement is calculated
  • Reworking of the strategy to embed the philosophy above and take advantage of many of the concepts already provided to EAG
  • Alter strategies to focus on Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (RRR) in parallel with the longer lead time renewable generation projects
  • Propose again that the green bin charge is removed and suggest that the recycling centres become non-permit centres allowing a much wider range of recycling and possible reuse of products
  • To embed ethical finance sources for all environmental related funding
  • That the council begins looking at employing parallel activities based on proposals already delivered to EAG for consideration from the Liberal Democrats and others
  • Move to ULEV as a minimum whenever a vehicle is replaced, and beyond this to zero-emission as soon as lifetime costs become with 5% of each other (this should happen within 3 to 5 years)
  • To ensure a parking strategy is associated with any deployment of EV charge points, we propose that reserved bays are immediately created next to all existing EV charge points
  • Stopping any further cuts to transport and that an increased emphasis is placed on improving existing services to promote better use and therefore viability
  • That the council reinforces the need in planning to establish passive house standards for new builds and that commercial builds requirements be lifted to BREEAM Outstanding immediately
  • Identify land immediately for use as carbon sinks
  • Create EPC linkage to business rates – Incentivise landlords to improve the environmental credentials of existing properties and stop penalising them for making improvements that benefit the environment
  • Undertake a rapid expansion at all WBC buildings in their use of renewable energy
  • Undertake a rapid reduction of energy used by WBC buildings for lighting and heat
  • Undertake rapid improvements in insulation of WBC buildings to promote more efficient heat energy use
  • Using near free renewable energy during the night by storing and time-shiftingthe energy to when needed during the day on WBC assets (schools, offices, etc)
  • Working with the National Grid, Tesla and others to create a grid of batteries that can then time shift near free renewable energy at night for commercial and home use during the day
  • The promotion of concepts outlined in the Lib Dem SMATE (Save Money And The Environment) document
  • The promotion of concepts outlined in the Lib Dem SMATE-4Biz document
  • Undertake a public information campaign highlighting savings associated with reuse coffee and the availability of free water

To download the full response, please click here.

Newbury Town Council response

To be published

Thatcham Town Council response

The response from the Lib Dem led Thatcham Town Council can be downloaded here.



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